Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

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Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

Postby DarkDream » Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:39 am

I have a general question regarding the Tripitaka. From my limited understanding, please correct my if I am wrong, there seems to be different recensions in the various South East Asian countries. For example, there appears to be a Burmese, Thai and Sri Lanka recension. I also have noticed that there is different organizations that organize the Pali Canon. For example, the Sri Lanka Tripitaka Project, Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana (Sixth Council compilation), Burma/Myanmar Pitaka Association, Pali Text Society and so on.

Maybe I am confused here, but what are the differences? Are there any between the different Asian countries?

The reason I specifically ask is that I noticed that a translation of the Brahamajala Sutta found here, http://web.ukonline.co.uk/theravada/brahma2.htm#10 differed in other translations on the listing of the metaphysical questions that the eel-wigglers equivicated on:

whether it is that a good or a bad kamma produces results, and also does not produce results.....
whether it is not that a good or a bad kamma produces results, and also does not produce results.....
whether there is life after death1..... whether there is no life after death.....
whether there is life as well as no life after death.....
whether it is not that there is life as well as no life after death, and if I took it that it is not that there is life as well as no life after death

Now in this passage there is the use of "life" as in "whether there is life after death." All the other English translations I have seen have instead the "Tathagata." I have checked in Pali some of the recensions of the Pali Canon in the Roman script, and they all appear to have "Tathagata." I maybe thought the translator made a mistake but there is a note (1) that says:
1. Literally, whether a sentient beiug exists after death...

This seems to me that the translator had read "satta" (sentient) being rather than Tathagata who is a specialized sentient being.

Can anyone shine any light on this discrepency? Is there recensions of the Pali Canon that sometimes deviate in the usage of Pali words?

Thanks,

DarkDream
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Re: Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 29, 2009 5:50 am

DD,

Hunting for more fuel for your rebirth was inserted into the suttas by a cabal of naughty monks conspiracy theory?

The differences among the various recessions of the canon are minimal. What you have pointed to is typical of scribal errors and in no way would support a massive rewriting of the suttas to sufficiently alter what the teachings say.

As for tathagata vs "life", it is not uncommon for tathagata to be used to refer to not just the Buddha, but any arahant. As for your translator's choice of word, you will have to ask him. There is no real justication for it.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:26 am

Hi DD,
I spoke to a monk from I believe Thailand, a few months ago about this, very shourt exchange, but relevant here.

each Tipitaka is slightly different, and possibly due to translation from the scripts into the respective script of the languages. these differences are minor I believe and don't change the meaning at all, if any. it would be like translating a book from one language to another for it to make sense propperly it would need to have words added and taken away for readability and understanding.

If you get the chance read Guide to the Bodhisattva way of life (snow lion) translated by Vesna a. Wallace and B. Alan Walace I thing this demonstrates what I mean as it is a translation of both the tibetan and sanscrit versions, where the text is very different from one another they put it in the footnotes.

WM
M

DarkDream wrote:I have a general question regarding the Tripitaka. From my limited understanding, please correct my if I am wrong, there seems to be different recensions in the various South East Asian countries. For example, there appears to be a Burmese, Thai and Sri Lanka recension. I also have noticed that there is different organizations that organize the Pali Canon. For example, the Sri Lanka Tripitaka Project, Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana (Sixth Council compilation), Burma/Myanmar Pitaka Association, Pali Text Society and so on.

Maybe I am confused here, but what are the differences? Are there any between the different Asian countries?

The reason I specifically ask is that I noticed that a translation of the Brahamajala Sutta found here, http://web.ukonline.co.uk/theravada/brahma2.htm#10 differed in other translations on the listing of the metaphysical questions that the eel-wigglers equivicated on:

whether it is that a good or a bad kamma produces results, and also does not produce results.....
whether it is not that a good or a bad kamma produces results, and also does not produce results.....
whether there is life after death1..... whether there is no life after death.....
whether there is life as well as no life after death.....
whether it is not that there is life as well as no life after death, and if I took it that it is not that there is life as well as no life after death

Now in this passage there is the use of "life" as in "whether there is life after death." All the other English translations I have seen have instead the "Tathagata." I have checked in Pali some of the recensions of the Pali Canon in the Roman script, and they all appear to have "Tathagata." I maybe thought the translator made a mistake but there is a note (1) that says:
1. Literally, whether a sentient beiug exists after death...

This seems to me that the translator had read "satta" (sentient) being rather than Tathagata who is a specialized sentient being.

Can anyone shine any light on this discrepency? Is there recensions of the Pali Canon that sometimes deviate in the usage of Pali words?

Thanks,

DarkDream
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Re: Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:21 pm

Hi Dark Dream,

As others have said, the different Pali version of the Tipitika differ only by small amounts that could well be transcription errors.

What you would probably find more interesting, but is, of course, outside of Classical Theravada so would require a thread somewhere else, are the similarities and differences between the Theravada Tipitika and the surviving T(r)ipitikas from other schools.

Metta
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Re: Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:15 pm

Who was the translator? It doesn't say.
What word is being translated? It doesn't say that either.
- Peter

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Re: Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

Postby DarkDream » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:26 pm

Manapa wrote:Hi DD,
I spoke to a monk from I believe Thailand, a few months ago about this, very shourt exchange, but relevant here.

each Tipitaka is slightly different, and possibly due to translation from the scripts into the respective script of the languages. these differences are minor I believe and don't change the meaning at all, if any. it would be like translating a book from one language to another for it to make sense propperly it would need to have words added and taken away for readability and understanding.


Manapa, thanks for relating this. It totally makes sense in the Therevada Tipitaka that some words may have a different meaning due to the particular script that the scribes used which may make some letter ambiguous. So it totally makes sense there could be some slight differences in words.

In the case I gave an example for, however, it seems like it is a toally different word that could not be scribe error -- the change from tathagata to satta.

I am just curious if this is an isolated incident or there are more differences like this (could not be accounted for by scribal errors) in the Therevada Tipitaka amongst the different recensions. From the information you presented, it seems that this is not the case.

I was wondering if anyone knew otherwise? I am also wondering if anyone knows of a particular Tipitaka recension that does satta instead tathagata.

--DarkDream
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Re: Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

Postby DarkDream » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:31 pm

Peter wrote:Who was the translator? It doesn't say.
What word is being translated? It doesn't say that either.

Maybe that is a good point. I am making an assumption that the word is "satta" instead of "tathagata" which it is possible that the translator made as a sentient being if for some reason he saw "tathagata" as an arahant in general as Tiltbillings pointed out.

I will try to follow up and do some more research.

But still I do think it is an interesting question as to the differences between the different recensions. So far this thread seems to indicate very few due to scribal errors. I guess it is implied that when we talk about the core nikayas I am assuming that no recension leaves out suttas that an other one does not have.

Does anyone know if this is true?

--DarkDream
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Re: Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

Postby sukhamanveti » Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:57 am

DarkDream wrote: I am also wondering if anyone knows of a particular Tipitaka recension that does satta instead tathagata.

--DarkDream


I would expect that a translation from the Burma Pitaka Association in 1984 would have relied upon the 6th Buddhist Council (Burmese script) Edition (1956). Yet the 6th Buddhist Council edition (transliterated into Roman script) has tathagata: ‘hoti tathāgato paraṃ maraṇā…pe… ‘na hoti tathāgato paraṃ maraṇā…pe… (see http://www.tipitaka.org/romn/ )

The PTS edition, which "draws from older Sinhalese and Burmese versions" appears to have tathagata as well, because Maurice Walshe relies upon this recension and he has "Tathagata."

The Sinhala-script Buddha Jayanti edition says tathagata. You may read it in either English or Pali here: http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2S ... index.html

I don't know what the other extant editions have, but it appears that the translator is most likely responsible for the error.

Ed
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5
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Re: Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:24 am

DarkDream wrote:I was wondering if anyone knew otherwise? I am also wondering if anyone knows of a particular Tipitaka recension that does satta instead tathagata.


It is always tathāgata and never satta in Pali sources. And if you read the Khemā Sutta (SN. iv. 373-80; = Connected Discourses II 1380-3) you will see that this is not arbitrary — there is a logic as to why it is always tathāgata and never satta.

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Re: Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:41 am

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Differences in the Different Recensions of the Tripitaka?

Postby DarkDream » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:55 am

Thanks for all you guys looking into this (especially sukhamanveti). I did the same thing by looking at the Pali from the Sixth Council and the Pali Text Society. I can concur that I have always seen "tathagata" and not "satta."

All the best.

--DarkDream
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